Teacher Feature: Meet Kingsley Choir Director Andy Evans
"I love my choir. This is just the most amazing group of kids."
Kingsley Choir Director Andy Evans grew up surrounded by music.
"My mom was the choir director for 30 years at the Leland United Methodist Church. From the time I was a year old, they were passing the baby around during rehearsals, and as my siblings and I grew up, we were part of the adult choir. At 10, we'd sing soprano and when our voice dropped a bit, we'd move to alto, and so on," he said.
He began his musical career as a vocal major in college before switching to majoring in upright bass. The one problem? He didn't know how to play it, he only had experience with the bass guitar.
"My instructor promised to teach me and as long as I held up my end. So for about two years, I was in the practice room eight hours a day, just tearing it up, trying to learn how to play bass. Once I got to the point where I could play, he started passing gigs to me."
That's when his rockstar era began: eventually taking him to Nashville, Asia, and beyond!
"At one point, I played with The 5th Dimension, which is a famous band from the '70s," said Mr. Evans. "During that time, I also played with Ben E. King, and Gary U.S. Bonds."
Mr. Evans also got connected to Tommy Vale and the Torpedoes. When the band's song, "Iraq and a Hard Place" blew up, Mr. Evans was invited to accompany them on tour.
"I was hired to go to South Korea on tour with them and perform for the US Department of Defense. So we went and toured all the military bases in South Korea."
After returning stateside, he gigged in Michigan before moving to Nashville with his wife. In Tennessee, he played with salsa bands and rubbed elbows with producers and musicians connected to the Beach Boys and Glenn Cambell.
"In Nashville, I opened for Arturo Sandoval and was the bass tech for Israel Lopez (Cachao) while I played with Al DeLory and Salsa en Nashville."
Take a listen to some of the albums and performances Mr. Evans has been featured on:
"Summerson - Sav from the Accidentals' album with her parents before the Accidentals.
Roger Brown - His last few albums including the group Drive South
Miriam Pico All her albums except the first
But it was a musician from country star Randy Travis' band who led Mr. Evans to teaching.
"The fiddle player from Randy Travis's road band and I worked together a lot. His wife was one of the top public school orchestra directors in Nashville. She always told me 'you need to be a teacher!' and she would have me go and do workshops with her students."
"I had no intention to be a teacher when I was in college. I got a teaching certificate as a backup."
He found a job as an orchestra director in Metro Nashville. Three years later, he moved to Northern Michigan with his family.
The rest, as they say, is history. Today, Mr. Evans is celebrating 20 years as the choir director at Kingsley Area Schools.
"I love my choir. You build a relationship with them where it's almost like they're your own kid, you know? You just see them grow up and you see them experiment and blossom."
This school year, his singers made it to State Festival and two singers were invited to compete at State Solo and Ensemble. Mr. Evans also formed Choral Fusion, an acapella group, and "Work in Progress" an after-school rock band.
"I think one thing that's cool about Kingsley's music program is that me and band director Lance Dubay work really well together. We like sharing our kids."
To learn more about the choir program, click here, or email email@example.com